Aerial view of campus with Williamsport, the Susquehanna River and Bald Eagle Mountain as a backdrop

Chemistry and Biochemistry (CHEM, BIOCH)

Professor: McDonald
Associate Professors: Bendorf, Mahler
Assistant Professors: Ramsey (Chair), Saunders

  • Majors: Chemistry, Biochemistry
  • Courses required for Chemistry major: 13 (B.A.), 16 (B.S.)
  • Courses required for Biochemistry major: 16 (B.S.)
  • Math prerequisite (not counted in major): Math 127
  • Math requirement: Math 128, 129
  • Capstone requirement for Chemistry: Departmental Proficiency Examination and CHEM 449, or the Professional Semester
  • Capstone requirement for Biochemistry: Departmental Proficiency Examination and BIO 447, CHEM 449, or the Professional Semester
  • Minor: Chemistry

The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry offers both B.A. and B.S. degree programs and is approved by the American Chemical Society (ACS) to certify those students whose programs meet or exceed requirements established by the ACS. Students who complete the ACS certified degree are also eligible for admission to the American Chemical Society following graduation.

For students planning on graduate study in chemistry, German is the preferred foreign language option, and additional courses in advanced mathematics and computer science are also recommended.

CHEMISTRY (CHEM)

Major Requirements

The B.A. Degree

To earn the B.A. degree in Chemistry, a student must complete CHEM 110, 111, 220, 221, 232, 330, 331, 333; PHYS 225, 226; MATH 128, 129; and the Capstone experience.

The B.S. Degree

To earn the B.S. degree in Chemistry, a student must complete the thirteen course major described above as well as three 4-credit courses in chemistry or biochemistry chosen from CHEM 439, 440, 442, 443, or 446; BIOCH 444 or 445. One course from the following list may be substituted for one of the chemistry or biochemistry courses listed above: CHEM 400, 470, 480, or 490; PHYS 331 or above; BIO 222 or above; MATH 123, 130, 214, 216, 231, 238, 332; or CPTR 125

ACS Certification

To earn ACS certification in Chemistry, a student must complete the requirements described above under the B.A. degree as well as BIOCH 444, and two additional course from CHEM 440, 442, 443, 446 or BIOCH 445. Students completing this program of study may elect to receive either the B.A. or the B.S. degree.

Certification in Secondary Education

A Chemistry major interested in becoming certified in secondary education in Chemistry and/or General Science/Chemistry should, as early as possible, consult the current Department of Education Teacher Education Handbook and make their plans known to their advisor and the Chair of the Education Department so the required courses can be scheduled for the Professional Semester. Successful completion of the Professional Semester (EDUC 461, 462, 465, and SPED 447) also satisfies the Chemistry Capstone experience. Please check with the Education Department for the most current PA State requirements.

Capstone Requirements

All chemistry majors must demonstrate to the Department their command of chemistry by: 1) passing a Chemistry Department proficiency exam and 2) completing CHEM 449 or the Professional Semester (EDUC 461, 462, 465, and SPED 447).

Writing Courses

A list of courses that, when scheduled as W courses, count toward the Writing Requirement, can be found on the Registrar’s website and in the GENERAL EDUCATION REQUIREMENTS section of the catalog.

Minor Requirements

A minor in chemistry requires completion of CHEM 110, 111, 220, 221, and two CHEM courses numbered 232 or higher. One BIOCH course may be substituted for any CHEM course 232 or higher in the minor.

000
LABORATORY TEACHING METHODS
Provides students with practical experience in laboratory teaching. Students in this course are paired with a faculty mentor and help supervise labs, deliver pre-lab lectures, and assist in ordering chemicals and prepping laboratory experiments. Students complete a project that integrates the chemical education literature, classroom instruction materials, laboratory safety and chemical procurement, storage, and disposal. Open to junior chemistry majors pursuing certification in education, with consent of the instructor. Non-credit course.

100
CHEMISTRY IN CONTEXT
Intended for the non-major, this course explores real-world societal issues that have important chemical components. Topics may include air and water quality, the ozone layer, global warming, energy, acid rain, nuclear power, pharmaceuticals, and nutrition. The chemistry knowledge associated with the issues is built on a need-to-know basis. Three hours of lecture and one two-hour laboratory per week. Not open for credit to students who have received credit for CHEM 110.

101
INVESTIGATING CHEMISTRY
Intended for the non-major, this course introduces the fundamental concepts of chemistry through the perspective of forensic science. Case studies based upon actual crimes and an investigative laboratory experience will be used to illustrate the importance of chemistry to forensics as well as everyday life. Three hours of lecture and one two-hour laboratory per week.  Not open for credit to students who have received credit for CHEM 110.

102
CHEMISTRY OF FOOD AND COOKING
Intended for the non-major, this course introduces students to chemical principles, with an emphasis on organic chemistry. Topics covered include: the chemical composition of food, the chemistry of nutrition, and the physical and chemical changes that occur during cooking. Three hours of lecture and one two-hour laboratory per week. Not open for credit to students who have received credit for CHEM 110.

110
GENERAL CHEMISTRY I
A quantitative introduction to the concepts and models of chemistry. Topics include stoichiometry, atomic and molecular structure, nomenclature, bonding, thermochemistry, gases, solutions, and chemical reactions. The laboratory introduces the student to methods of separation, purification, and identification of compounds according to their physical properties. This course is designed for students who plan to major in one of the sciences. Three hours of lecture, one hour of discussion, and one three-hour laboratory per week. Prerequisite: MATH placement of level 3 or 4, credit for Math 100, or consent of department.

111
GENERAL CHEMISTRY II
A continuation of CHEM 110, with emphasis placed on the foundations of analytical, inorganic, and physical chemistry. Topics include kinetics, equilibria, acid-base theory, electrochemistry, thermodynamics, nuclear chemistry, coordination chemistry, and descriptive inorganic chemistry of selected elements. The laboratory treats aspects of quantitative and qualitative inorganic analysis. Three hours of lecture, one hour of discussion, and one three-hour laboratory per week. Prerequisite: A grade of C- or better in CHEM 110 or consent of instructor.

202
THE CHEMISTRY OF ENERGY
Intended for the non-major, this course uses chemistry and thermodynamics to examine current and alternative sources and uses of energy on Earth and in human society. It considers energy in terms of its historical, economic, and social aspects, as well as its role in climate change and pollution. Scientific calculations and unit conversions are used throughout. Three hours of lecture and one two-hour laboratory per week. Not open for credit to students who have received credit for CHEM 110. Prerequisite: MATH placement of level 2, 3, 4, or credit for MATH 100.

219
ORGANIC AND BIOCHEMISTRY
An introduction to the compounds of carbon in both organic and biochemistry. Topics include the nomenclature, structure, bonding, and spectroscopy of biologically relevant organic functional groups. Additional discussion includes biochemistry of monomeric lipids, amino acids, carbohydrates, and nucleic acids along with their corresponding biopolymers. The lab introduces students to organic synthesis, infrared and mass spectroscopies with an emphasis on environmental applications. Three hours of lecture, one hour of recitation, and one three-hour laboratory per week. Not open for credit to students who have received credit for CHEM 220. This course does not count toward the chemistry major. Prerequisite:  CHEM 111.

220
ORGANIC CHEMISTRY I
An introduction to the chemistry of the compounds of carbon. Topics include structure and bonding, nomenclature, conformational analysis, stereochemistry, substitution and elimination chemistry, alkenes, alkynes, IR spectroscopy, and organic synthesis. The laboratory introduces techniques for the synthesis, purification, and characterization of organic compounds. Four hours of lecture and one four-hour laboratory per week. Prerequisite: CHEM 111.

221
ORGANIC CHEMISTRY II
A continuation of CHEM 220 with emphasis on the synthesis and characterization of organic compounds. Topics include the chemistry of alcohols, dienes, arenes, and carbonyl compounds, NMR spectroscopy, mass spectrometry, and radical chemistry. The laboratory work includes multi-step syntheses, mechanistic studies and characterization of organic compounds using a variety of spectroscopic techniques. Four hours of lecture and one four-hour laboratory per week. Prerequisite: A grade of C- or better in CHEM 220.

232
QUANTITATIVE CHEMICAL ANALYSIS
A quantitative introduction to chemical analysis by chemical and instrumental methods. Topics include statistics, data analysis, titration, gravimetric analysis, and equilibrium, as well as an introduction to the fundamentals of spectroscopy, separation science, and electrochemistry.  Emphasis is placed on oral methods for reporting of experimental results. Three hours of lecture and two three-hour laboratory periods per week. Prerequisite: CHEM 111 or consent of instructor.

330
PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY I
A study of energy in chemistry and its reactions, including in-depth gas laws, thermodynamics, phases and physical transformations of pure substances and mixtures, equilibrium, electrochemistry, and statistical mechanics. The laboratory involves physicochemical measurements of thermodynamic properties. Three hours of lecture and one four-hour laboratory per week. Prerequisites: CHEM 111, MATH 129, PHYS 225 and 226, or consent of instructor.

331
PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY II
A continuation of CHEM 330 with emphasis on time and structure in chemistry and its reactions. Topics include molecular motion, rates of reactions and kinetics, molecular reaction dynamics, quantum mechanics, atomic and molecular structure, and their relation to spectroscopy. The laboratory introduces kinetics and quantum mechanics experiments, as well as student projects. Three hours of lecture and one four-hour laboratory per week. Prerequisite: CHEM 330.

333
ADVANCED INORGANIC CHEMISTRY
A study of modern theories of atomic and molecular structure and their relationship to the chemistry of selected elements and their compounds. Three hours of lecture and one four-hour laboratory per week. Prerequisites: CHEM 221 or consent of instructor. CHEM 330 preferred, but not required.

400
CHEMISTRY PRACTICUM
A work-oriented experience for junior or senior chemistry or biochemistry majors jointly sponsored by the Department and a public or private agency. The practicum is designed to integrate classroom theory with laboratory practice. In addition to attendance at a weekly class meeting, students spend 10-12 hours per week at the sponsoring agency.

439
INTRODUCTION TO QUANTUM MECHANICS
Introduction to the basic concepts and principles of quantum theory. Uses the Schrödinger wave equation approach to present solutions to the free particle, the simple harmonic oscillator, the hydrogen atom, and other central force problems. Topics also include operator formalism, eigenstates, eigenvalues, the uncertainty principles, stationary states, representation of wave functions by eigenstate expansions, and the Heisenberg matrix approach. Cross-listed as PHYS 439. Four hours of lecture. Prerequisites: Math 231 and either PHYS 226 or CHEM 331.

440
ADVANCED ORGANIC CHEMISTRY
Theory and application of modern synthetic organic chemistry. Topics may include oxidation-reduction processes, carbon-carbon bond forming reactions, functional group transformations, and multi-step syntheses of natural products (antibiotics, antitumor agents, and antiviral agents). Three hours of lecture and one four-hour laboratory per week. Prerequisite: CHEM 221.

442
SPECTROSCOPY AND MOLECULAR STRUCTURE
Theory and application of the identification of organic compounds. With special emphasis on the utilization of spectroscopic techniques (H-NMR, C-NMR, IR, UV-VIS, and MS). Three hours of lecture and one four-hour laboratory per week. Prerequisite: CHEM 221.

443
INSTRUMENTAL ANALYSIS
An introduction to the operation and function of modern chemical instrumentation. Topics include instrumentation for molecular, vibrational, and atomic spectoscopy; pressure- and electrically-driven separation science; as well as potentiometric and voltammetric electrochemical techniques. Three hours of lecture and one four-hour laboratory per week. Prerequisites: CHEM 232 and 331 or consent of instructor.

446
ORGANOMETALLIC CHEMISTRY
An introduction to the chemistry of compounds containing metal-carbon bonds. Topics include structure and bonding, reactions and mechanisms, spectroscopy, and applications to organic synthesis. Emphasizes the use of organometallic compounds as catalysts in industrial processes. Three hours of lecture and one four-hour laboratory per week. Prerequisite: CHEM 221.

448
CHEMISTRY COLLOQUIUM
A seminar in which faculty, students, and invited professional chemists discuss their research activities. Colloquium presentations by students are part of the course requirements for Chemistry Research Methods, Internship, and Honors.Attendance at Chemistry Colloquium is voluntary. Non-credit course.

449
CHEMISTRY INFORMATION, COMMUNICATION, AND ETHICS
Focuses on the communication of chemistry to technical and general audiences. Students explore techniques for searching the chemical literature, evaluate search results, and present the results from literature or experimental studies in multiple formats. Ethical issues related to the conduct and reporting of research are addressed. Majors should enroll in this capstone course in either the junior or senior year. Prior or concurrent research or internship experience is highly recommended, but not required. Four hours of lecture per week. Prerequisite: CHEM 221. Corequisite: CHEM 330.

470-479
INTERNSHIP  
The student ordinarily works under supervision in an industrial laboratory and submits a written report on the project.

N80-N89
INDEPENDENT STUDY 
The student ordinarily works on a laboratory research project and writes a thesis on the work.

490-491
INDEPENDENT STUDY FOR DEPARTMENTAL HONORS
The student ordinarily works on a laboratory research project with emphasis on showing initiative and making a scholarly contribution. A thesis is written.

BIOCHEMISTRY (BIOCH)

Major Requirements  

To earn the B.S. degree in Biochemistry, a student must complete CHEM 110, 111, 220, 221, 330; BIO 110, 111, 222; BIOCH 444, 445; MATH 128, 129; PHYS 225; the Department’s Biochemistry Proficiency Examination; either CHEM 449, BIO 447, or the Professional Semester; and two additional courses from the list below.

    • BIO 321 Microbiology
    • BIO 323 Human Physiology
    • BIO 330 Nutrition: Metabolism & Health
    • BIO 346 Virology
    • BIO 347 Immunology
    • BIO 348 Endocrinology
    • BIO 435 Cell Biology
    • BIO 437 Molecular Biology
    • CHEM 331 Physical Chemistry II
    • CHEM 333 Inorganic Chemistry
    • CHEM 440 Advanced Organic Chemistry
    • CHEM 442 Spectroscopy and Molecular Structure

Certification in Secondary Education   

A Biochemistry major interested in becoming certified in secondary education in Chemistry and/or General Science/Chemistry should, as early as possible, consult the current Department of Education Teacher Education Handbook and make their plans known to their advisor and the Chair of the Education Department so the required courses can be scheduled for the Professional Semester. Successful completion of the Professional Semester (EDUC 461, 462, 465, and SPED 447) also satisfies the Biochemistry Capstone experience. Please check with the Education Department for the most current PA State requirements.  

Capstone Requirements

All Biochemistry majors must demonstrate to the Department their command of biochemistry by: 1) passing a Biochemistry Proficiency Exam and 2) completing either CHEM 449, BIO 447, or the Professional Semester (EDUC 461, 462, 465, and SPED 447). 

Writing Courses

A list of courses that, when scheduled as W courses, count toward the Writing Requirement, can be found on the Registrar’s website and in the GENERAL EDUCATION REQUIREMENTS section of the catalog.

Notes:  A student may not double major in Biochemistry and Chemistry or double major in Biochemistry and Biology. A student may not major in Biochemistry and minor in either Biology or Chemistry. 

444
BIOCHEMISTRY I
An introduction to the structures and properties of amino acids, lipids, carbohydrates, and their biopolymers. The kinetics and mechanisms of enzyme catalyzed reactions will be discussed, with emphases on bioenergetics and the metabolism of carbohydrates and lipids. Four hours of lecture and one four-hour laboratory per week. Prerequisite: CHEM 221 or consent of instructor.

445
BIOCHEMISTRY II
A continuation of BIOCH 444 with emphasis on metabolic pathways such the catabolism and synthesis of carbohydrates, lipids, and amino acids, as well as the associated electron transport pathways. Regulation and integration of metabolism are addressed. Four hours of lecture and one four-hour laboratory per week. Prerequisite: BIOCH 444